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Beer-swilling bride sparks controversy in New Zealand

Cameron Burnell / Taranaki Daily News

Farm worker Katrina Hayman, who was photographed drinking a beer during the Taranaki Bride of the Year competition, says no-one would have criticized her for sipping a glass of wine.

A front-page photo showing a contestant in a Bride of the Year competition taking a swig of beer has sparked controversy in New Zealand.

Katrina Hayman, a pig midwife, was snapped by the Taranaki Daily News as 34 women relived their big day for the event.

"At your wedding you're relaxed because you have your family and friends around for support but in the competition you are sort of all by yourself," Hayman told the newspaper. "It was quite stressful. That's why I was drinking a beer." 

The photograph provoked debate online, with the image being branded "disgusting" by one critic. The contest's organizers also demanded an apology from the newspaper.

'I just felt more comfortable'
Hayman, who married in March, said she loved the photo and didn't understand the controversy. She added that no-one would have passed judgment if she had been spotted sipping a glass of wine.

"I mean that is just the type of person I am," the farm worker reportedly said. "I don't like to portray myself as someone I am not. A lot of females drink beer and it's just I felt more comfortable having a beer than having a wine."

New Zealand news website stuff.co.nz later posted a poll asking readers whether drinking beer is "becoming for a bride?"

At 6:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, 62.4 percent of respondents had voted for "absolutely," compared to 13.6 percent who said "No, it's tacky" with 24 percent saying "OK, but out of an elegant glass please."

One user on the website added: "Clearly it's a surprise to some people that not all women drink champagne with their pinky finger out."

Hayman didn't win the competition.

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